I honestly thought creating the memorial in Monroe, and building a scholarship endowment fund was all the Lt. Helton Memorial Foundation would accomplish - and I had serious doubts I was going to be able to accomplish the former never mind the latter.
I totally understimated the how far and how many Lt. Helton touched in his short life.
The project in Monroe is scheduled to be completed in November of this year, along with the next stage of the Walton County Veteran's Memorial, in time for Veteran's Day and Monroe's Bi-centennial celebration on November 12. We received our non-profit status in September of 2013, and held our first fundraiser in the spring of 2014 (a BBQ). It has been an amazing four years, and I thank everyone for their support, donations, and encouragement. I remember talks with Joseph when he would come home, and go out to visit students in the AFJROTC room at the high school. He wanted to inspire students to challenge themselves and reach a potential they never imaged, and to entertain the possibility of a future that went beyond the borders of Walton County. I find that now, through the Foundation, he is doing the same to me.
I had a phone call recently asking if the Foundation would be interested in another memorial project in Florida. The project has great appeal, however, begging for money for another project in another state, no so much. And then I recall the "In Defense of Freedom" project at MacDill, where everything pretty much just fell in my lap (many thanks to Dennis Keegan, USAF Col (ret), Darwin Bush of 6th SFS, Tom Burkett of Troop Rewards and Dick Danner of Danner Construction), and I am no longer intimidated. Next I get a phone call from Jonathan Skwiera to find out a fundraiser is underway by the 6th Security Forces Squadron at MacDill in Celebration of Police Week, and they would like to donate the profits to the Lt. Helton Memorial Foundation. Awesome! "Let me know what I can do as I'm a whole lot happier working for donations than begging for them!" If the program in Florida doesn't happen, the money will be earmarked for a new scholarship program the Foundation's board members recently discussed.
We have created a webpage for the tournament, making it easy for players to sign up and for donors to sponsor! Donations can be made directly through the Helton Foundation's secure server, mailed in, or given to Jonathan Skwiera or Jeremy Stull (phone numbers and e-mails are listed on the tournament's downloadable pdf available from the Golf Tournament's webpage.)
The date is May 24th, 12:30 Shotgun Start. The cost is $40 per person and includes green fees, cart rental, beverages, snacks, lunch, and hole contests (free club rental for E-4's and below). The tournament is open to military and civillians alike. There are sponsorship opportunities, from sponsoring a single hole (lots of these available) to being a Title Sponosr for the tournament (there is only ONE of these, you must contact Jonathan Skwiera if you're interested before someone else writes a check!). There will be raffle opportunities, hole contests (one of which is for $10k), and who knows what else they'll come up with? It will be a day of food, fun, and fellowship, all for a great cause!